I live in a town that is home to a university.
Part of our town's "cultural bubble" includes the oft-taught philosophy that we are to embrace the diversity and preferences of others and to have tolerance for the things that we find offensive. I guess I can fit into that, to a point, being a minister's wife. There are often people whom I come into contact with that I am required to love, both by the Word of God, and by the virtue that God has put me in their lives to be a blessing and a help to them. And frankly, sometimes, their neediness is quite obvious and a huge character test for me! But every now and then, I drop the ball and Monday was one of those days! If I had been in a football game, I would have been penalized 25 yds. for unpastorlylike conduct. Well, I didn't actually DO anything, but in the New Testament economy, thinking is the same as doing, so....I'm guilty!
I guess I was having one of those "atypical" pastor's wife days! Instead of thinking the best, having patience and understanding, and bearing up, I managed to think of several not so "typically" pastoral things to do with the blossoms of a tree that belonged to the neighbor of one of our customers. Let me explain.
By virtue of the Lord's design and plan for my life, I am responsible for mowing 42 of the communities finest yards. I know, not a "typical" profession for a woman or a pastor's wife. (There are many things about the Lord's plans, I don't understand, but I have to believe that it's all good! Yes, I believe......yes, I believe!) When I arrived at one of our nicest properties, I couldn't believe my eyes! It had snowed!! The grass was white, the bushes were white, even the driveway was white. Now it has been unseasonably cool for August , but I didn't recall it being quite that cold!
I soon discovered that the neighbor has a row of trees in her backyard which produce blooms that look similar to a light you might find hanging in a disco. When the bloom has matured, it turns into cottony, fluffy, balls that blow wherever the wind decides. Unfortunately, our customer is directly down wind. This cottony refuse was laying about an inch thick on the grass and even thicker on $1000.00 of freshly spread, BLACK mulch. To make matters worse, rain was in the forecast which would soak this stuff and cause it to lay on and kill the freshly fertilized grass. Now, I know that wouldn't be my fault, but most customers think that anything that goes wrong in the yard must be because I did something to it.
What makes matters worse is that the proud owner of these should-be-outlawed-and-cut-down trees has a hissy fit if any grass clippings land in her yard when we mow. So we make extra passes and walk extra steps with a blower to make sure that her yard is left just as we found it.
As I drove the mower through the grass, it just came out the shoot in huge whitish-greenish clumps! What didn't go through the mower was flying like a swarm of killer bees around my head, up my nose, in my mouth, and down my shirt. Somehow, amidst all the gagging, spitting and sneezing, I managed to get the grass mowed. Now, here is where my not so neighborly, nor Christian (as my holy husband reminded me) behavior occured.
At first I had thoughts of bagging all the stuff up and dumping it onto her front yard which quickly led to other places I would put some of it if I had the opportunity. Then I noticed that as I blew it, the grass clippings and the fuzzy stuff separated, so I caused a "wind" with my blower that just happened to blow it all back into her yard. I was only replacing what belonged to her! Truth was, I had to blow it somewhere.
To be honest, my thought life was quite disappointing to me, and I'm sure to God. After all, He did make those trees along with mosquitoes and poison ivy--just 3 of the things on my list to ask Him about when and IF I make it to heaven. I don't hold Him responsible though for planting them there--that was totally HER doing!
And so, I am humbled in my opinion of who I thought I was, in the eyes of my hubby, and in the sight of my God, whom I need so desperately, day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute to help keep this old red neck country girl under control!
I'm reminded that He never gives up on me. He is patient, LONGsuffering, and kind. (He must be, I haven't been directly struck by lightning yet). I'm also disappointed because I was what most non-Christians perceive as obnoxious-poison ivy, mosquitoes, big fluffy trees, and a "typical" Pastor's wife--sweet on the outside, but nasty on the inside. (yes, I've polled them and this is their general consensus.)
So I lost a down and some yards in my efforts to win this contest we call life. Fortunately in life and football, all fumbles are not game ending! So I've gone back to the huddle fully realizing that I'll probably have to run that play again--probably next week, when I go there to mow! Please, Lord, help me score this time!